Politics

NME: 'Nobody was more important than Jeremy Corbyn to our readers'

In the final days of the election campaign, NME put Jeremy Corbyn on their cover. Editor Mike Williams says it was their duty...

NME editor Mike Williams and Jeremy Corbyn

At the General Election, support for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party shocked politicians and pundits alike. So what happened? In a series of interviews, we speak to the campaigners, mobilisers, concert organisers, educators and pundits changing the political landscape and energising a new generation of the left in Britain…

Mike Williams: Politics matters again. Everyone is thinking about and talking about it. During the snap election campaign, politics was as much a part of our agenda as music and pop culture – so how could we not?  The Friday before the election, there is not a single person on Earth more important to our audience – from music, film or pop culture. Nobody stood for something that mattered so much in their lives as Jeremy Corbyn did.

Decisions on who we write about are based on our audience’s passion points

There was the gradual build-up to the decision [to put him on the cover], but then it was the biggest no-brainer ever. The opportunity was there to set the agenda and it would have been irresponsible not to take it. The NME has always been politicised. And it has been bubbling under again since the EU referendum. We’d see the people we were writing about and talking to becoming more engaged.

Decisions on who we write about are based on our audience’s passion points

More importantly, we are an audience business. Decisions on who we write about are based on our audience’s passion points. He [Corbyn] became the de facto figurehead of the fightback. But the more we shone a light on him the more we saw that this guy has something – he can not only vocalise what we’re feeling, but suggest a new way of thinking. There was a path to follow.

And meeting him [pictured above], he was exactly as I’d imagined. Open, honest, warm and also human enough to take the piss out of himself a little bit. The fact his name was sung to Seven Nation Army? I use this in the positive sense, but it is that mob mentality you get in football stadiums, that collective belief and support.

Glastonbury was more than a continuation of Corbyn’s momentum. I stood in the crowd at the Pyramid stage and all around me there were people in tears. This wasn’t just rousing a crowd, this was a speech of enormous magnitude. To see people so empowered by his words – right now, the support and belief in him is really legitimate. He feels he is deserving of it…

@itsmikelike

Photo credit: Jordan Curtis Hughes/NME

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